I think that Benidorm gets a bad write up. In fact, scrap that, I know it does. We’ve all watched the ITV show, with its tacky characters and plot lines, and just assumed that the place is like Blackpool on acid. So last year, I greeted the news of my mum booking us a week there with a forced smile and a heavy heart, trying desperately to think of excuses to get out of going. But how wrong I was. Actually, I loved it so much that we went back again for four days this April, and I hope we continue to do so for many years to come.
Sure, you get bars full of boozy Brits in the New Town (although I went for a run one morning and it was a group of Spanish lads that were fighting outside the McDonalds… classy), and whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s not really my scene when I’m with family (but with friends it’d probably be a totally different story!). No, the reason I love Beni so much is for its beautiful Old Town. It sounds ridiculous when you don’t know the place, but it’s so authentically Spanish. Hard to believe, right? I’ve visited many Balearic Island resorts, but (aside from a trip to Barcelona in year eight), I’ve never been to mainland Spain. If you step off the sea-front and delve into the backstreets of Benidorm’s Old Town, you will find something completely new. Elderly locals walking around arm in arm, the beautiful Plaza Castelar and Church of San Jaime with their stunning views, and just a general lack of tourists all contribute to the magic of the place. Tapas Alley was a new find for us this year, where the moreish nibbles in La Taperia drew us back for an evening meal of lobster paella (even if I did make a fool of myself trying to crack the shell); and it’s impossible not to visit the charming French chef Fred at The Vagabond.
In my opinion, when you do inevitably stroll along the front, the bars nearer to the Old Town are better than those in the New Town. They’re still full, but don’t have the rowdiness that you’d expect further along the beach. The Daytona Rock Bar and The Bulldog both play excellent music, and live music can also be found at a number of bars at various times of the day. Live music, a cold drink and a view of the golden sands and sea- what more could you want?
Another must-see is the beautiful village of Altea. Just a short bus journey away (it was about €3 for both of us), the town is situated in hills, and is absolutely gorgeous. There’s not as much to do there as there is in Benidorm, but the quaint, cobbled streets, breathtaking views and lovely bars and restaurants are definitely worth the trip. El Castell serves a lovely jug of Sangria to wash down their homemade pizzas!
On a personal note, I love Benidorm because I feel like I have family ties there. My mum visited Benidorm a lot as a kid/teenager, and so sitting in the square that she sat in with my Nana and Great-Nana, or popping into The Intimate Bar where she used to drink Bacardi with my Auntie Di makes me feel closer to those that have passed, and to see for myself the backdrop to so many funny stories.
Benidorm has something for everyone. I agree, there are tacky elements to it, but for me, these are ruled out by the overall charm of the place. If you fancy hopping on a plane and seeing what the hell I’m talking about, I highly recommend that you visit some of the places that I’ve mentioned in this post (I’ve included links to various Facebook pages.) Sorry that this has been a lengthy post, but it’s surprising how many places you can visit in just four days… I need another holiday to recover from this one!
Have you ever been to Beni? What’s your favourite place to travel to?